Sunday, September 24, 2017

Chicken Soup Contributor Luncheon

Earlier this summer I posted about a Chicken Soup for the Soul luncheon I attended in Chicago for their contributors. Here’s a picture. I’m the short guy in the middle of the back row, wearing the yellow shirt.


Friday, September 22, 2017

I grew up hating to read...so how did I become an author for middle grade readers?

I grew up hating to read...so how did I become an author for middle grade readers? Sometimes I ask myself the same question.

Still, it’s true. I didn’t like to read as a child. This was ironic because my father was an author who published 77 books during his life. Many of them were for kids, but I couldn’t have been less interested.
Several years ago, I decided to look into why I didn’t enjoy reading. That research resulted in my decision to begin writing the kinds of books I would have enjoyed as a child. 

A recent issue of Newsweek carried a cover story warning, “The Boy Crisis. At Every Level of Education, They're Falling Behind. What to Do?” Since reluctant reading is primarily a problem for boys, I’ve found my books are filling an important need. 

My professional background has always involved the production of films, television commercials, and video programs. I’m a visual learner. So I began to incorporate some of those visual concepts into my writing. For example, readers won’t find these books to be heavy on descriptions. Boys especially want a story that moves rapidly. 

I chose to write many of the stories with completely different characters, setting, and plot. My work also includes two series. But as a child, I could never accept the concept of a group of friends, or cousins, or a brother and sister who would get up, every Saturday morning, go out into the back yard, and save the world…again. For that reason, each story in those series can stand alone.

These 6 Books Coming Soon!



Letters and emails from readers and their parents indicate that these new books are hitting their mark. Yet, not only are they enjoyed by reluctant boy readers, but avid boy readers, girls, and even adults get swept away in the stories, action, and adventure. 

Here is just a sampling of the comments that I regularly receive about these unique books.   

A mother writes, “I can't believe it ....as the concerned mother of two struggling readers...who is also the daughter of a children's librarian ... I think I have purchased every book recommended for reluctant readers  however, they have all fallen short until today. We were able to purchase our first Max Elliot Anderson book...and we're hooked!!!"

A teacher reported, "This year, we started with one of your books. The students are already finished with it. Our school only planned on using three of your books for the whole year. Now we’ll have to buy more titles.”

Another mother said, "At last we've found something that will interest him in reading."  

A school administrator wrote, “It is a joy to see our students, especially boys, asking for more! I can recommend every book without hesitation. While reading the first one, I had trouble putting it down. Max Elliot Anderson, the author of these books, has a unique ability to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. As a grandparent I am encouraged that the books creatively and appropriately weave Christian character traits and biblical principles through the life of the main character and his friends. Parents, you will find this true of every book.”

It is often said in business, find a need and fill it. We have a need to capture the interest and imagination of the next generation, or risk losing our readers. 

Today, kids have so many other, more visual distractions with personal electronic devices, television, computers, video games, and DVDs. It takes a different kind of book to hold their interest. These books will hold their interest.

My books are compared by readers and reviewers to a modern day Tom Sawyer, The Hardy Boys, Huck Finn, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, Scooby-Doo and adventure author Jack London. 


Children write to me after reading one of my books. They have said that reading one of these middle grade mysteries or adventures is like being in an exciting or scary movie…good scary and not dark. If you're looking for books to excite the interest in your children for reading, you've come to the right place.


Check out all my books on the Amazon Author’s Page at:
https://www.amazon.com/Max-Elliot-Anderson/e/B002BLP3EE 
More new books on the way very soon - reviewer requests welcome contact me at mander8813@aol.com 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

How gross must we be to attract young readers?

How gross must we be to attract      young readers?

There are articles circulating on the Internet asking how gross we have to be, in our writing, in order to attract boy readers. I won’t quote the titles out of respect for the readers of this blog, and children who might also be visiting it today.

In recent years, a number of books have been published that make use of toilet humor, gross words or situations, and certain sounds. Are dirty or questionable words funny? Of course they are. Are certain body parts, sounds, and functions funny? No question. But that is no excuse to use them in our writing, especially when children are the intended audience. 

There are two kinds of comedians. One can tell a side-splitting joke, or set up a situation and deliver a line so funny, it hurts our stomachs and makes our eyes run, all without reaching down into the gutter. Others come out on stage with crutches. Their crutches include nasty situations, dirty words, swearing, and a gross use of humor.  Just because it’s funny is no excuse for us to say it or write it. 

As writers we have a responsibility, especially to the next generation, to set positive examples in the language we use. Our daughter teaches 3rd grade, in a public school. “Dad,” she’ll say, “you can not believe what these kids say to each other, to me, and to other teachers.”

Where does this come from? Truth is, they see it on TV, listen to it in their music, hear it in their own homes or from friends, and read it in some of the books intended for middle grade readers. 

We can do better. And we owe it to them.

The Internet articles I mentioned take the position that the more gross we can be in our writing, the more likely we are to attract boys back to reading. While the premise might be true in some cases, I reject the concept. Even though one might be able to point to skyrocketing sales figures, what is the long term effect going to be.

My favorite styles of humor are either sight humor, where something is visually funny, humor where something that is said or seen earlier, gets a funny punch line later, and humor you can see in your head.

You might ask, “Okay, so you’re saying we can write for kids, and clean humor will attract young readers?” That’s been my experience so far. Not only can we, I believe it’s our responsibility. 

Humor is an important component of all my middle grade adventure and mystery books. Over the next few weeks, six of my new books will be published. 

Following those, another nine will be republished after the original publishers went out of business. I grew up hating to read, so I write for readers 8 –13, especially boys. And girls enjoy reading them just as much. 

When  it comes to writing for kids, we’re talking about the next generation. And shouldn’t we try to leave this world a better place than the way we found it? As the adults in the room, we ought to be looking for ways to raise the bar, not lower it.                                                                    

Check out all my books on the Amazon Author’s Page at:


Note! Bloggers and web site owners are welcome to republish this column.

Monday, September 18, 2017

6 NEW Middle Grade Adventures & Mysteries

These NEW Middle Grade Adventures & Mysteries are in the final stages of production now. Each is a standalone title.
If you are a reviewer of middle grade books, and are interested, please send your name and address to mander8813@aol.com  so I can make sure you're on my reviewer list.




Synopsis_________________________________

Shadow

Shadow is a classic, boy-and-his-dog story, filled with twists, turns, action,

danger, and mystery. For as long as he could remember, all Bobby Taylor ever wanted was a dog of his own…any dog. But, he had a problem. His step-father managed the local animal control facilities, and the last thing he wanted to see at home was another barking dog.
Bobby began to notice a severely neglected dog, in the back yard of a run-down home that he passes on his way to school. So, he sort of adopted this pitiful animal as his own. He even gave him a name; Shadow. Unfortunately, because the dog had been so mistreated, he had an extremely vicious side. But, whenever he was in Bobby’s presence, anyone would have thought that this was the most gentle dog in town.
Buck and his followers made it their mission to pick on Bobby with every opportunity. That’s because Bobby was one of the scrawniest kids in school.
Then a rash of vandalism struck the town of Mason City. It began small, but became increasingly destructive. After each hit, the vandals left their mark; a symbol that was always spray-painted on a wall or sidewalk. Bobby is able to keep Shadow, as his own dog, under one condition. If the dog ever attacks anyone, the sheriff has ordered that Bobby’s father would have to put the dog down.
What happens when Bobby finally discovers who’s behind the vandalism? And, when they know that he knows, they set out to make sure he never tells another human being. After Shadow ultimately saves Bobby’s life, he puts his own in jeopardy.
This story will remind readers how important it is to tell the truth, no matter what the consequences may be.



Synopsis_________________________________


Snake Island


Rod Campbell loved to go tubing with his friends down the lazy river outside of town. They often wondered about Snake Island as they drifted by.
Then, one day Mr. Patterson rushed out in front of the boys as they rode their bikes. People around town said he was a little crazy since he’d come back from the war. Some said his injuries had affected his brain. But Mr. Patterson warned them about the island.
Rod talked his friends into camping out on the island since it was near his grandfather’s farm. If they could last the whole night, then there wouldn’t be anything to be afraid of they reasoned.
On the night of the campout, someone came to the island, dug a hole, and rolled a large piece of carpet in. Then he began covering it up. The boys were terrified when they realized the man digging the hole was Mr. Patterson.
They raced off the island. The next day they learned that the richest man in town was missing. Police suspected murder. 
Rod and his friends reported what they saw and Mr. Patterson was accused of the crime. But did he do it? And what did he bury in that hole?

Synopsis_________________________________


Last Chance


Derek Snyder is about to begin his last year of middle school. This is the last chance he’ll have to feel in charge, before beginning at the bottom of the ladder called high school. He plans to be the captain of his football team, and everyone at school pretty much did as he said. Although his teachers were allowed to call him Derek, everyone else at school had to call him Snyder.
On the day he arrived for the first day of school, Derek was in for a huge surprise. He found his friends crowded around a new student. Even though Derek hated to admit it, this new guy was attractive in every way. Yet, he was not at all what he seemed to be.
Through this story, we learn that Chip used to live in a large city. There, he had been involved in gangs and had even been the cause of the death of another boy.
Derek is determined to push Chip off center stage; a place that only Derek rightly deserved.
This story captures the nuances of junior high identity struggles. Everything Derek had imagined unravels one after the other. Plus, there is plenty of exciting football action.
Readers will learn what is truly important in life as they witness the concept of a person being willing to give up his life for a friend.
This story is funny, exciting, sad, and touching, all at the same time.

Synopsis_________________________________


Troubles at Timber Ski Lodge


Sibling rivalry and a neighborhood bully are only two of the troubles Eric faced. Eric Baxter is twelve-years-old. His little brother, Shawn, drives him crazy with every opportunity. The Baxter family moved to the lodge two years ago because Eric’s grandfather could no longer keep up with the place.
Unfortunately, it hadn’t snowed enough in those two years for the lodge to turn a profit, and there had never been extra money so the Baxters could buy the snow-making equipment that would have made all the difference.
It didn’t help matters to have Thunder Mountain Ski Lodge right next door. Vince Turner’s father owned the place, and the Turners were filthy rich. Vince reminded Eric of that fact almost every day.
One afternoon, the village authorities learned that a gold shipment had been robbed. The reports said that a small airplane had been stolen around the same time. It’s expected that the crooks might try to fly the stolen gold across the mountains.
What happens when the boys hear the drone of a small plane just as a fierce storm is moving in? And, will Eric be able to save Timber Ski Lodge before it’s too late?
An avalanche, sibling rivalry, and being chased by gold thieves only add to Eric’s troubles.

Synopsis_________________________________



Whispers in the Graveyard


Josh didn’t like moving from his safe, comfortable house into a cramped apartment in Chicago. His father had taken a new job and the family hadn’t found the right house yet. But Josh made friends with Kim, Mason, and Dexter. The four boys did everything together. Dexter’s father was a funeral director.
The boys’ biggest problem was that the quickest way to the subway was straight through the center of the biggest cemetery Josh had ever seen. The place was locked at night, but the boys knew how to get in. The only thing was, who’d want to?
One night, as the boys returned home after dark, a gang began chasing them. Josh and his friends had no choice but to duck into the cemetery. They thought the gang was scary, but that was nothing compared to what they saw and heard next.
The boys set out to unravel the mystery behind why those awful men were digging in the cemetery at night.
What they discovered was a gigantic drug smuggling ring, and the boys found themselves right in the middle of it.
Now if only the police can get there in time.  

Synopsis_________________________________



Scanners


What do bar codes, scanners, tattoos, and 666 have to do with the life of a twelve-year-old boy? Maybe nothing.  Maybe everything.  
Alex Peterman had a dream life. He could walk into the grocery store, pick out anything off the shelves, and walk back out without paying for it. Of course, it helped that his father owned Gilbert’s Grocery store.
Alex and his friends, Noah Bates and Tim Price began working with him, in the store, for the summer. But it wasn’t long before some money was missing, a lot of money. And it always happened on the weekends.
Alex didn’t care what it took, he was determined to catch the thief. Only he could never have imagined how big it was, or how many people were involved. He and his friends set up a secret fort, made from wooden delivery pallets that were stored up in a loft above the receiving area of the store. From that vantage point, they could watch anyone who came or went through the back doors.
One day, the boys ran into a delivery man with the tattoo of a skull and swords on his arm. They decided to keep a close eye on this man. When they did, they saw him doing some pretty suspicious things around the store.
The boys were convinced that this was the man who had been stealing from the store, but how? When they saw him again at the regional food convention, they were certain. Now Alex had to come up with a plan to catch him. But he wasn’t prepared for what happened next.


Bio - Max Elliot Anderson

Max Elliot Anderson grew up as a struggling, reluctant reader.  After surveying the market as an adult, he sensed the need for action-adventures and mysteries for readers 8 – 13, that would have interested him as a child. 
Using his extensive experience in the production of dramatic motion pictures, videos, and television commercials, Mr. Anderson brings that same visual excitement and heart-pounding action to the stories he writes. His books include different characters, setting, and plot as well as two traditional series. 
Young readers have reported that reading one of his books is like actually being in an exciting movie. 

Max Elliot Anderson’s Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Max-Elliot-Anderson/e/B002BLP3EE 

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Chicken Soup for the Soul Luncheon

Earlier in the week, I had the distinct pleasure of joining with other fellow contributors to books for Chicken Soup for the Soul. (No, they didn't serve any chicken soup) But what a pleasant group of humble writers.

The luncheon was hosted by Amy Newmark, Executive Editor of the Chicken Soup books. Her talk was both entertaining and informative.

At the luncheon, we were given two books. The first is called “Simply Happy, A Crash Course in Chicken Soup for the Soul Advice and Wisdom.”

The second is “Chicken Soup for the Soul, My Kind (of) America” which was released on the day of our lunch.


This is a great, highly positive organization. I encourage any writer to keep an eye out for the next “call for submissions” and send in your story.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

If you missed it, “Middle Grade to the Max” (Page 18) in Southern Writers Magazine

If you missed it, “Middle Grade to the Max” (Page 18) in Southern Writers Magazine and FREE right now. To catch up on my books…go take a look! http://southernwritersmagazine.blogspot.com